When Christine Blasey Ford alleged she had been sexually assaulted by a then 15-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, she offered the name of a female friend who she said was at the party with her – Leland Keyser.
Keyser, through her lawyer, denied any memory of such a party or knowing Kavanaugh at all. Since that original statement, the Wall Street Journal reports, Keyser was pressured to change her statement to be more supportive of the claim.
Keyser “told FBI investigators that she felt pressured by Dr. Ford’s allies to revisit her initial statement that she knew nothing about an alleged sexual assault by a teenage Brett Kavanaugh, which she later updated she believed but couldn’t corroborate Dr. Ford’s account,” according the the Journal.
One of the people Keyser told investigators had reached out to encourage the change was former FBI agent and Ford friend Monica McLean. McLean is the woman an ex-boyfriend of Ford’s swore in a statement to the Senate had been coached by Ford on how to handle a polygraph test, contradicting her sworn testimony. McLean issued a press statement through Ford’s lawyers denying the allegation.
The Journal reports Keyser told the FBI McLean “had urged her to clarify her statement” because her original statement denying any knowledge of the party Ford described “was being used by Republicans to rebut the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.”
“The friends told Ms. Keyser that if she intended to say she didn’t remember the party – not that it never happened – that she should clarify her statement,” the Journal continued.
McLean’s attorney, David Laufman, released a statement denying any pressure was applied. “Any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser’s account of what she recalled concerning the alleged incident between Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely false,” the statement read.
On Thursday night, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Ford’s attorneys that, among other things, requested they “please turn over records and descriptions of direct or indirect communications between Dr. Ford or her representatives and any of the following: (1) U.S. Senators or their staffs, particularly the offices of Senators Feinstein and Hirono, other than your communications with me and my staff in preparation for the September 27 hearing; (2) the alleged witnesses identified by Dr. Ford (Leland Keyser, Mark Judge, and Patrick ‘P.J.’ Smyth); and (3) Debbie Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, or their representatives.”
In her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford said she had not talked with Keyser for years.